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Open access

Changjiao Yan, Meiling Huang, Xin Li, Ting Wang and Rui Ling

Objective

To investigate the mutant status of BRAF gene and analyze its relationship to epidemiological risk factors and clinical outcomes among patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) in the largest, single-institution Chinese cohort to date.

Methods

The medical records of 2048 PTC patients were reviewed in this retrospective study. Single-factor and multiple logistic regression analyses were applied to identify risk factors for BRAF V600E mutation. Survival outcomes including distant metastatic and persistent or recurrent PTC were examined, with a mean follow-up time of 23.4 (5–47) months.

Results

The BRAF V600E mutation was present in 83.7% of patients (1715 of 2048). Correlation was found between BRAF V600E mutation and several epidemiological features, including age, concomitant hypertension and Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT). For the clinicopathological features, BRAF V600E was significantly associated with bilateral multifocality (odds ratio (OR) 1.233, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.063–1.431, P < 0.01) and less lateral lymph node metastases (OR 0.496, 95% CI 0.357–0.689, P < 0.01). Smaller tumor size and advanced disease stage were significant in single-factor analyses but became insignificant after multivariate adjustment. No association was found between BRAF V600E mutation and extrathyroidal invasion, distant metastatic and disease persistence or recurrence.

Conclusion

Part of epidemiological features are independent risk or protective factors for BRAF V600E mutation. The presence of BRAF V600E mutation is not an aggressive prognosis on poor clinical outcomes in PTC. However, the high prevalence of BRAF V600E may provide guidance for surgery strategy and opportunity for targeted treatment in recurrent and advanced stage disease.

Open access

Yun Hu, Na Li, Peng Jiang, Liang Cheng, Bo Ding, Xiao-Mei Liu, Ke He, Yun-Qing Zhu, Bing-li Liu, Xin Cao, Hong Zhou and Xiao-Ming Mao

Objective

Thyroid nodules are usually accompanied by elevated thyroglobulin (Tg) level and autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs). However, the relationship between Tg and AITDs is not fully understood. Dysfunction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) plays an important role in the development of AITDs. We aimed to evaluate the effects of Tg on the function of Tregs in patients with thyroid nodules.

Methods

Tg levels and the functions of Tregs in peripheral blood and thyroid tissues of patients with thyroid nodules from Nanjing First Hospital were evaluated. The effects of Tg on the function of Tregs from healthy donors were also assessed in vitro. The function of Tregs was defined as an inhibitory effect of Tregs on the effector T cell (CD4+ CD25 T cell) proliferation rate.

Results

The level of Tg in peripheral blood correlated negatively with the inhibitory function of Tregs (R = 0.398, P = 0.03), and Tregs function declined significantly in the high Tg group (Tg >77 μg/L) compared with the normal Tg group (11.4 ± 3.9% vs 27.5 ± 3.5%, P < 0.05). Compared with peripheral blood, the function of Tregs in thyroid declined significantly (P < 0.01), but the proportion of FOXP3+ Tregs in thyroid increased (P < 0.01). High concentration of Tg (100 μg/mL) inhibited the function of Tregs and downregulated FOXP3, TGF-β and IL-10 mRNA expression in Tregs in vitro.

Conclusions

Elevated Tg level could impair the function of Tregs, which might increase the risk of AITDs in patient with thyroid nodules.

Open access

Chunyun Fu, Shiyu Luo, Yingfeng Li, Qifei Li, Xuehua Hu, Mengting Li, Yue Zhang, Jiasun Su, Xuyun Hu, Yun Chen, Jin Wang, Bobo Xie, Jingsi Luo, Xin Fan, Shaoke Chen and Yiping Shen

Background

The incidence of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) differs significantly among different ethnicities and regions, and early differentiation of transient CH is important to avoid unnecessary prolonged treatment with L-T4.

Objective

To investigate the incidence of CH based on the newborn screening program in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, and to analyze the predictors that might allow for an early differentiation between permanent (P) and transient (T) CH.

Design and methods

Data from newborn screening program over a seven-year period (January 2009 to January 2016) at Guangxi Maternal and Child Health Hospital are analyzed. Blood samples were collected on filter paper between 3 and 7 days after birth, and TSH level was measured by time-resolved fluorescence assay. Individuals with increased TSH (TSH ≥ 8 IU/L) levels detected by newborn screening were recalled for further evaluation. Serum TSH, FT3 and FT4 were determined by electrochemiluminescence assay using venous blood samples. Diagnosis of CH is based on elevated TSH levels (>10 IU/L) and decreased FT4 levels (<12 pmol/L). Patients with elevated TSH levels and normal FT4 levels were diagnosed as hyperthyrotropinemia. Permanent or transient CH was determined by using the results of thyroid function tests after temporary withdrawal of L-T4 therapy at approximately 2–3 years of age.

Results

Among 1,238,340 infants in the newborn screening program, 14,443 individuals were recalled for reevaluation (re-call rate 1.18%), 911 and 731 individuals were subsequently determined to have hyperthyrotropinemia and CH respectively; thus, a prevalence of 1:1359 and 1:1694 for hyperthyrotropinemia and CH. Of the 731 patients with CH, 161 patients were diagnosed with permanent CH (PCH), and 159 patients were diagnosed with transient CH (TCH), the other 411 patients are too young to determine their subtypes. Patients with PCH required an increasing dose of L-T4 during the first few years, whereas patients with TCH required a decreased dose of L-T4. The TSH levels at diagnosis and the dose of L-T4 used were significantly higher in PCH cases than in transient cases. The FT4 levels at diagnosis were significantly lower in PCH cases than in TCH cases. The TSH levels at diagnosis, FT4 levels at diagnosis and L-T4 doses at 90 days were evaluated as predictors for differentiating PCH and TCH, and their accuracy at their respective optimal cutoffs were determined to be 60.6%, 66.7% and 93.9%, respectively.

Conclusions

The CH incidence in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is slightly higher (1:1694) compared to the worldwide levels (1/2000–1/4000). The PCH and TCH ratio is close to 1; thus, the estimated PCH incidence is 1/3388, which is similar to reported worldwide average incidence (1/3000). The L-T4 dose required at 90 days (>30 μg/day) has the highest predictive value for PCH. Earlier differentiation of PCH and TCH helps to determine appropriate treatment course.

Open access

Jintao Hu, Qingbo Chen, Xiao Ding, Xin Zheng, Xuefeng Tang, Song Li and Hui Yang

Objective

Many cancer cells cannot survive without exogenous glutamine (Gln); however, cancer cells expressing glutamine synthetase (GS) do not have this restriction. Previous metabolomics studies have indicated that glutamine metabolism is altered during pituitary tumorigenesis. However, the main role of Gln in pituitary adenoma (PA) pathophysiology remains unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of GS and the main role of Gln in human PAs.

Methods

We used cell proliferation assay and flow cytometry to assess the effect of Gln depletion on three different pituitary cell lines and human primary PA cells. We then investigated the expression level of Gln synthetase (GS) in 24 human PA samples. At last, we used LC-MS/MS to identify the differences in metabolites of PA cells after the blockage of both endogenous and exogenous Gln.

Results

PA cell lines showed different sensitivities to Gln starvation, and the sensitivity is correlated with GS expression level. GS expressed in 21 out of the 24 human PA samples. Furthermore, a positive p53 and ki-67 index was correlated with a higher GS expression level (P < 0.05). Removal of both endogenous and exogenous Gln from GS-expressing PA cells resulted in blockage of nucleotide metabolism and cell cycle arrest.

Conclusions

Our data indicate that GS is needed for PA cells to undergo proliferation during Gln deprivation, and most human PA cells express GS and might have a negative response to exogenous Gln depletion. Moreover, Gln is mainly responsible for nucleotide metabolism in the proliferation of GS-expressing pituitary tumor cells.